Here we are on another Wednesday, trailing a Tuesday evening Sporting Clays outing. As usual, I have a range report ready for you, but this time there is a bit of a twist involved. First, lets talk about the actual shooting aspect of my evening. Unlike my third outing, where I did very well, this week I shot rather poorly. I would estimate my only breaking about 50% of the 50 clays thrown.
Rearing it’s ugly head was my nemesis, the Rabbit. In this particular outing, I was faced with three pairs of rabbits and I was lucky to break two of the six total clays. The random nature of the rabbit makes me struggle and I feel as though I have to rush my first shot in order to have a chance at taking a second shot before the clay gets out too far.
To make things even worse, I felt like many of the clays this week were appearing in my break zone in a perfect profile presentation. I don’t know if it was my mind playing tricks on me but it seemed as though hitting the clay, when all I could see was its thin edge, was very difficult.
I began to hit my stride late into the course but it was too little, too late. While I shot poorly, I had a lot of fun in this weeks course setup. I was presented with lots of challenging shots, which made this outing fun, even if I only managed to break half of the clays thrown.
Now on to that twist I mentioned in the first paragraph. When the shooting concluded I was put in a rather embarrassing situation. The trapper approached me and politely informed me that he worked for tips. In the four times that I had visited the club for sporting clays, I never left a tip. I simply assumed that he was paid a portion of the fee that I pay to shoot.
While I don’t mind leaving a tip for the trapper, it pushes the total cost of shooting a round of sporting clays out of my comfort zone. Up until today my figures indicated that I was paying $25.00 ($13.00 for shells plus $12.00 fee to the club). With a plan of shooting twice per month, this works out to $50.00 per month ($600.00 per year).
Using these figures, I was comfortable with the cost until my car ride home when I thought a bit harder about it. Since I always seem to find myself shooting alone (no one else at the club when I go), it takes me a grand total of about 20 minutes to shoot the 50 clay course (and actually, that 20 minutes may be a bit high). Work that into the figures and the time I spend shooting comes out to about 4 hours per year. Crunch the numbers and that means I’m paying $150.00 per hour (over the course of a year) to shoot Sporting Clays.
That grand total shocked me, to be honest, and it doesn’t even include additional money for tips throughout the year. Being on a shooting budget, the cost is simply too high for me to feel comfortable continuing to shoot. If I were spending more time at the range, shooting with a small group of people, with added camaraderie, I wouldn’t feel so bad about paying $25.00 per outing. As it stands, that is just too much money for 20 minutes worth of fun.
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to think long and hard about Sporting Clays. I may only go once per month and participate in one of the Sunday shoots (which I’m told lasts about an hour and half due to the size of the groups).
The video below runs about eighteen minutes and goes a little more in depth on the way I feel about the cost. In addition, I went a little off topic and discussed my ideas for a body mounted camera and upcoming USPSA shooting.